‘Waste to wear’ initiative

Posted by on apr 24, 2013 in Corporate News, Sustainability Mission | 0 comments

‘Waste to wear’ initiative

‘Waste to Wear’ initiative launched to clean up seas

Aquafil, a global manufacturer of polyamide 6; ECNC Land & Sea Group, a leading European Expertise Centre for Biodiversity and Sustainability; and Star Sock, a leading development and production partner for socks in the Netherlands; have established the ‘Healthy Seas, a Journey from Waste to Wear’ initiative.
The main objective of this Healthy Seas initiative is to remove waste, in particular fishing nets, and other marine litter, from the seas and oceans for the purpose of creating healthier seas and recycling marine litter.
In a statement from the initiative partners, recovered fishing nets are still all too often dumped into landfills or burned, but as part of the Healthy Seas initiative they will be transformed and regenerated into Econyl yarn, a high-quality raw material used to create new products, such as socks, swimwear, underwear and carpets.
According to a joint report by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), there is approximately 640,000 tonnes of abandoned fishing nets in the oceans, accounting for one-tenth of all marine litter. These nets remain in the marine ecosystem for hundreds of years and are responsible for accidental capture of dolphins and other animals, such as turtles and marine birds, which often die once trapped.
The Healthy Seas initiative will be launched in three main phases and the detailed description of the relevant action plan will be made public before the end of April.
In the first phase, the Healthy Seas approach will be implemented in three pilot regions in Europe: the North Sea (Netherlands and Belgium), the Adriatic Sea (Italy, Slovenia and Croatia) and the Mediterranean Sea (Spain). The completion of this pilot phase will allow the three partners to identify the most efficient practice to adopt in the future expansion of the Initiative into other much wider areas.
The second phase will identify effective procedures which will discourage the abandonment of fishing nets at sea and will make available, encourage, and facilitate responsible handling of fishing nets at the end of their life, allowing their recovery and regeneration into new products. The expansion of the initiative to other areas will be part of this second phase.
During the third phase constructive proposals will be developed concerning implementable actions. These will be submitted to governments and legislators to ensure that the Healthy Seas initiative will deliver long-term results and that public awareness will be maximised.
In addition, a ‘Healthy Seas Fund’ will be established, with a focus on awareness-raising about the importance of healthy seas, the removal of abandoned fishing nets from oceans and seas, and the financing of local coastal and marine projects that support the objectives of the Healthy Seas.

COMMENT

Recently, Interface, a global carpet tile manufacturer, celebrated the completion of its pilot Net-Works project, which it conducted in collaboration with the conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
The project, not so dissimilar to the new initiative, was created to tackle the growing environmental problem of discarded fishing nets in some of the world’s poorest coastal communities –specifically the Philippines.
By establishing a community‐based supply chain for discarded nets, Net‐Works aims to improve the livelihood of local fishers, while providing Interface with an innovative source of recycled materials for its carpet tiles.
In addition to tackling the growing environmental problem of fishing nets in the sea globally, a study from the University of Plymouth highlighted that there are also problems closer to home with over a third of the fish caught off the south-west coast of the UK containing traces of microplastics and semi-synthetics, including rayon – which is used in clothing, furnishing, female hygiene products and nappies.
The study – Occurrence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract of pelagic and demersal fish from the English Channel – examined over 500 fish, from ten different species, and found plastics in the gastrointestinal tracts of 36.5% of the marine life.
Pieces of plastic were identified using Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) Spectroscopy with polyamide (35.6%) and the semi-synthetic cellulosic material rayon (57.8%) being the most common.
Richard Thompson, Professor of Marine Biology at Plymouth University and one of the paper’s authors, said: “There has been a lot of interest in how small amounts of debris, in particular plastics and semi-synthetic materials, cause harm in the marine environment.

“They are known to be widespread in the marine environment, and there has been laboratory investigations suggesting that small fragments like these might cause harm in natural populations from a toxicological point of view or as a physical hazard.”

One thing that is highlighted from the two initiatives and the study is that finding ways, either through commercial partnerships or development programmes, to tackle textile debris from littering the world’s oceans and seas is gathering pace and should not be ignored, but welcomed, by the industry in the future.

Source: ei.wtin.com

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